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Race report: Lake Heritage Water Festival 2017

The Lake Heritage Water Festival is one of the most anticipated seeding events on the annual aQuellé Midmar Mile calendar, offering two days of swimming action including a 3km swim, a 5km swim, 1 200 metre swims for various age categories and a 600 metre fun swim.

21 and 22 January 2017 did not disappoint. The rain held off, despite the threat of a storm on Saturday afternoon, and a great time was had by swimmers, vendors and organisers. Lake Heritage, situated at Cradle Moon Lakeside Game Lodge (formerly known as Heia Safari Ranch), offered the perfect opportunity for Gauteng-based swimmers to get in their much-needed training ahead of the 44th aQuellé Midmar Mile.

The action splashed off with the 3km swim on Saturday morning, and top honours in this first event went to Ruan Breytenbach in a time of 36:55, followed by Gary Albertyn in 39:36. The third person out of the water was Michee van Rooyen, claiming top spot in the ladies’ race and third place overall in a time of 39:37. Hot on her heels in 39:38 was Armand Nortje, rounding off the men’s podium.

The second lady out of the water was Engela Venter in 43:32, followed by Samantha van Veyeren, who has been one of this seeding season’s familiar faces on the podium, in 43:52.

On to the 5km swim, and the first man to cross the finish mat, squeaking in just under the one-hour mark, was Josh Dannhauser in 59:53. Behind him came Ruan Breytenbach in 01:03:16 and Abdul Malick Railoun in 01:04:21.

The gold medal in the ladies’ race went to Abigail Peters, who won with a comfortable lead in a time of 01:14:46. She was followed by Megan Albertyn, who crossed the finish line in 01:16:27 and Ashleigh Munks, who made it in a time of 01:17:41.

On Sunday morning, it was over to event three – the ladies’ 13 and under; 31 and over race. The finish of this race was declared a “Megan thing”, with Megan Albertyn winning in 17:28, and young Megan Shepherd crossing the line second just seven seconds later. Third place went to Carol Mason of the 51-60 age category!

In the men’s 13 and under; 31 and over challenge, it was Gary Albertyn who claimed first prize in 15:49, followed by Michael Phillips in 16:23. Third place went to Viaan Bruinette of the 13 and under category in 17:42.

Next up were the truly competitive events of the day – the ladies’ and men’s 14-30 category. First place in the ladies’ event went to Samantha van Veyeren in 17:35. Although not eligible for a prize because she was swimming out of her category as part of her training for the 8-mile club at next month’s aQuellé Midmar Mile, the second lady out of the water was Megan Albertyn. Winner of the official second place in this event was Kirsty Maritz in a time of 19:00, followed closely by Jessica Dunstan in 19:05.

The men’s 14-30 event came down to a sprint finish between Armand Nortje and Ruben du Pisanie. Armand emerged victorious with the fastest time of the day – 15:32, followed by Ruben in 15:35. The last podium spot of the day was awarded to Brannen Williams, who finished in an impressive time of 16:54.
The day was concluded with a 600-metre fun swim, which was enjoyed by young and old alike. This particular event, as always, was popular with moms and dads who were looking for an opportunity to introduce their children to open water swimming, as well as with adults looking for a relaxed way to experience this awesome sport.


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